Emil's Epilogue - February 2009 valentine
Gustie Psych News & Events

Department Happenings and Other Important Events to Note on Your Calendar...

John Kendall Lecture Series Presentation
  • Monday, March 2, 2009
  • 7:00 PM
  • Nobel Hall - Wallenberg Auditorium
  • Dr. Renee Baillargeon - University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    • "Making Sense of Others' Actions: Psychological Reasoning in Infancy"
    • Beginning in the first year of life, infants attempt to make sense of others’ intentional actions. Although the nature and development of infants’ psychological reasoning (or “theory of mind”, as it is sometimes called) remain the subjects of controversy, the notion that infants already possess some understanding of others’ actions is becoming widely accepted. In my talk, I will review recent evidence that, when interpreting agents’ actions in simple scenes, infants take into account the agents’ goals, dispositions, perceptions, and beliefs—even when these beliefs are false.

Psychology Senior Exam
  • Tuesday 3/10, Wednesday 3/11, Thursday 3/12
  • 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
  • SSC 27
  • by appointment (contact Lee Sande, lsande@gustavus.edu)
Building Bridges Conference 2009
  • Rita Stevermer, senior psychology major, is co-chair of Building Bridges Conference 2009 (see related article below).
  • Saturday, March 14, 2009
  • 10:00 AM
  • Christ Chapel
Minnesota Undergraduate Psychology Conference (MUPC)
  • Saturday, April 18, 2009
  • College of Saint Benedict, Saint Joseph, MN
  • Keynote Speaker: Dr. Laura A. King - University of Missouri, Columbia
Celebration of Creative Inquiry - call for abstracts
MidBrains 2009
  • May 2, 2009
    Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN
Honors Day
  • Saturday, May 2, 2009
Psychology Spring Research Symposium
  • Friday, May 15, 2009

Did you Know? Spotlight on Majors...

Rita Stevermer
  • Hello and welcome back for Spring Semester!  My name is Rita Stevermer and I’m a senior Psychology major with minors in Peace Studies and Spanish here at Gustavus.  I hail from the small and friendly town of Maynard, MN.  In about a year and a half, I plan to attend graduateRita school in the field of trauma psychology.  Eventually, I would like to work as a clinical psychologist with children that have gone through traumatic experiences, aspiring to instill in them hope for a normal future.  In the meantime, I’m hoping to do service work either internationally or here in the States.
  • I can hardly believe that I’ll graduate in 4 short months, but even more so, looking back at my time on the hill I can hardly believe the amazing opportunities I’ve been given over the last 4 years.  One of these opportunities has been my involvement as co-chair in the 2009 Building Bridges Conference.  Building Bridges is a student-led, student-initiated annual diversity conference that addresses the pressing social and global issues of today.  This year’s conference, “Liberation through Education” will focus on educational inequality here in the United States and abroad, particularly looking at how an education has such a huge impact on an individual’s future.  The conference on March 14 will feature Erin Gruwell, the real-life hero portrayed in the 2007 film Freedom Writers, and Maria Reyes, one of Ms. Gruwell’s first students and an original Freedom Writer.  One goal of the Building Bridges Conference is to dispel the notion that typical college students like us can’t make a difference in the world.  It is this empowering characteristic of the organization that draws so many, including myself, to it.  Working with an outstanding and motivated committee for the event has already shown me just how big a difference students can make and how much power we have to influence the lives of others.  On behalf of the Building Bridges Committee, I cordially invite you to join us for the 14th annual Building Bridges Conference so that you, too, can learn about and find ways to lessen the impacts of educational inequality.

For more information on Building Bridges and how to receive a ticket, please visit gustavus.edu/diversity/buildingbridges.

Spotlight on our Alums

Kristen Fichtner

Kristen Fichtner is a 2003 psychology graduate. As an undergrad, Kristen was very active in the department as a departmental assistant and as a regular contributor to this newsletter. She attended graduate school at St. Cloud State University where she earned a Master of Science degree in Mass Communications with a specialty in Advertising and Public Relations. She welcomes conversations with current Gusties and can be contacted kfichtner@gmail.com.

  • Currently, I work for Directions Research Corporation in Mason City, Iowa as a project director. The firm specializes in marketing research for the agricultural industry. I split my time between the main company and a daughter company, AcreLink. On the main company side, I do quantitative research projects such as advertising, new product names, tagline testing, new product development, product perceptions and usage, and general market evaluations.
    kristenOn the AcreLink side I run a longitudinal study for a single client. The project is in its fourth year, but this is my first year managing it. I have 6 interviewers who each have 250 farmers they are responsible for interviewing. We conduct 6 studies a year with the entire panel of 1,500 farmers. Since each farmer talks to the same interviewer each time, they've developed a familiarity with each other and we've managed to have a high retention rate from year-to-year. The ultimate goal is to forecast brand usage/behavior based on opinions and previous behaviors. However, in the first three years there were very few surveys with questions similar enough to actually track behavior/opinions. So, for now we're working on turning it into an actual longitudinal study rather than simply a group of unrelated studies with the same people.
    Outside of work I spend most of my time fixing up my house and occasionally driving up to St. Peter to attend the Gustie hockey games!
Katie Thomas Jensen '08
  • The Psychology Department was recently notified by the Gustavus Library Associates that KatiePsychology alum Katie Thomas Jensen '08 is the 2008 recipient of the Patricia Lindell Research Prize. This award is determined by the library faculty for a Gustavus academic course paper that demonstrates excellent use of source material. Kate currently resides in Roseville and works at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul as a Psychology Associate in the locked unit with Traumatic Brain Injured patients. She plans to begin grad school next fall to pursue a career in Occupational Therapy.
  • Jensen, Katie. False Memories: The Effect of Confidence Ratings on Free Recall Tests. 2008.
  • This study sought to extend research on false memories by examining the influence of confidence ratings immediately following forced confabulation and memory implantation on subsequent free recall. All participants were asked a series of false-event questions, for some of these questions an experimenter provided a response (memory implantation), for others participants were forced to generate a response (forced confabulation). Half of the participants rated their confidence in their implanted and confabulated answers, thereby reflecting upon the misinformation, the balance did not rate their confidence. The results demonstrated that participants were more likely to falsely recall these items. Whereas, the confidence condition did not have any statistically significant results, it showed an interesting trend suggesting that reflection led to a higher rate of false recall only for implanted items.
Two Gustie Psychology alums receive two of five 2008 McKnight Presidential Fellow Awards presented in 2008.
  • Kathleen Vohs '96, Associate Professor of Marketing and the McKnight Land-Grant Professor at the Kathleen Vohs - scCarlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota, and Joseph E. Gaugler '95, Associate Professor at the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota were each awarded the prestigious McKnight photo of Joseph GauglerPresidential Fellow Award. The Award recognizes accomplishments and supports ongoing research and scholarship. Selection criteria include an identification by internal and external reviewers as leaders in their field; potential to build programs that will be in the top tier internationally; international reputation as evidenced by record of scholarship, publications, external funding, invited presentations and symposia addresses, significant awards or other evidence of recognition for research and scholarship.
Clinical Psychologist Amy Stark '76

Dr. Amy Stark '76, Santa Ana, was featured in the Orange County Register in an article about providing court-ordered therapy in family reunification and child custody cases "Giant Poodles save the day":


Spotlight on Faculty

Dr. Marie Walker

In 2004, I took part in a nationwide study on identity and political attitudes in college students (http://courses.ttu.edu/hdfs3390-reifman/fall04project.htm). I collected data from students in my Social Psychology classes in the two weeks preceding the 2004 presidential election. The main focus of the research was to see how young adults engage in the political process and if their political attitudes and behaviors are tied to their identity development.

  • Emerging adulthood is characterized by Arnett (2004) as the period from 18-30 years of age when young adults are exploring their world and remaining open to new experiences, while sometimes feeling instability in their world and a sense of being “in between” adolescence and adulthood. Often young adults in this age range don’t perceive themselves as being “real” adults.  Many of our psychology majors can probably relate to the ideas expressed in Arnett’s writing and research (http://www.jeffreyarnett.com/articles.htm).

In the fall of 2008, a psychology student and research apprentice, Emma Iverson, collaborated with me on a follow-up to the 2004 study (2008). We asked the same questions as in 2004 regarding an upcoming presidential election as well as some additional questions about political motivation and identity status. Recently, the research was accepted for presentation at the Association for Psychological Science 2009 Conference in San Francisco (http://www.psychologicalscience.org/convention/).

Professional Opportunities: